D&D 5E What is REALLY wrong with the Wizard? (+)

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Which would be OK if the non-casters leveled up. Unfortunately there's a vocal crew that demands that if fighters/barbs/rogues, etc are just regular dudes their poor little imagination can't take it. So if you level up the world without leveling up the martials appropriately, they just become more useless.

The obvious solution is to make martials supers in their own right, just with a tighter power grouping, but then people couldn't play out their fantasies of being a slightly tougher town guard or cutpurse. I mean, they could just not use those abilities, or not level up, but then they couldn't dictate the power level of everyone else's non-caster.
And quite often, I've found the people who think Wizards should be able to do all magic and warp reality to their whim, and the people who think Fighters should be no more skilled than, at best, a Navy SEAL, are the same people!

Which really boggles my mind.
 

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And quite often, I've found the people who think Wizards should be able to do all magic and warp reality to their whim, and the people who think Fighters should be no more skilled than, at best, a Navy SEAL, are the same people!

Which really boggles my mind.
Well, yeah, nothing makes your wizard look awesome than someone else's non-caster being a sidekick. Moreover, D&D has actively cultivated this mentality, which is why it's more common in older players who gripe about powerful martials being too anime. Anyone who wanted a better caster/.non-caster balance played other systems. Gygax voiced that the "serious" players graduated to magic-users, so them being a cruddy training wheels class was intended. The triumph of the nerd over the jock and caster supremacy were baked in.
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Well, yeah, nothing makes your wizard look awesome than someone else's non-caster being a sidekick. Moreover, D&D has actively cultivated this mentality, which is why it's more common in older players who gripe about powerful martials being too anime. Anyone who wanted a better caster/.non-caster balance played other systems. Gygax voiced that the "serious" players graduated to magic-users, so them being a cruddy training wheels class was intended. The triumph of the nerd over the jock and caster supremacy were baked in.
Pretty much, yes. 3.5's Tome of Battle, and all of 4e, was designed to make "non-magical" classes ("Martial" has become a loaded term, IMO) more balanced against their magic-using allies. But a very vocal part of the D&D community rejected these ideas, wanting Fighters to be guys with no special abilities other than "hit stuff good" "have lots of hit points" and "wear heavy armor".

Meanwhile, 5e's Wizards are superior to 3e's Wizards in most respects. They have more staying power, can wear armor if they want to, have cantrips that actually do more than d3 damage (and are usable at will, as opposed to 6x per day) and have actual class abilities beyond "a few free Feats and spells".

They have less high level spell slots, and obviously caster level > upcasting...but at the same time, save DC's being set by your level and not what spell you are using is pretty potent, so that's about a wash. And not having to play the Spell Resistance minigame is good too.

Many spells are stronger at base level as well. No d4+1 single magic missile or 5d6 fireballs here!

Concentration mostly just changes what spells are being used, I've found. Which, sadly, includes buff spells that you'd like them to be casting on their poor fighting man allies. "Sorry Fighter, can't spare the concentration to give you Haste, I have a Sleet Storm I need to keep up so those Bugbears can't reinforce the Hobgoblins for a turn or two."
 

bloodtide

Legend
Which would be OK if the non-casters leveled up. Unfortunately there's a vocal crew that demands that if fighters/barbs/rogues, etc are just regular dudes their poor little imagination can't take it. So if you level up the world without leveling up the martials appropriately, they just become more useless.
This is a too common response: if you scale up the game at all it specificity targets the martials and they become useless. And SURE you COULD do that......but you could also not do it.

The whole cliff area is in an anti magic field, the martials just SHRUG and climb up the cliff. The cliffs are full of archer bushes...well, the martials just fight them. Same with the flying foes. There are thousands of ways to scale up a world that does not directly attack the martials.

The obvious solution is to make martials supers in their own right, just with a tighter power grouping, but then people couldn't play out their fantasies of being a slightly tougher town guard or cutpurse. I mean, they could just not use those abilities, or not level up, but then they couldn't dictate the power level of everyone else's non-caster.
This is the common answer: 10,000 more pages of rules.

Though a couple rules do work out great. One I use in my game is: You declare whatever thing you want to do and make an attack roll against your opponent. If you get a hit, the opponent has the choice to either let the maneuver happen, or take the regular damage of the attack per normal rules. And this simple rule works out amazingly. It lets martials attempt to do nearly anything.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Ooooh, so sexy. They get proficiency with martial weapons. So do valor bards, who get 9 levels of spells and good class abilities.

Given your stated pro wizard bias that they should be the best class and everyone else should just bask in their glory as loser sidekicks, I'm not wasting much time engaging with you.

I was not refering to proficiency with martial weapons, I said more than any other class they can transition from melee to ranged and do both well.

Bards can't and there are two reasons:

First "Valor Bard" is not a class and any time people bring up subclasses or feats WRT Fighters we are reminded that those things are not part of the fighter chassis. Well neither are the Valor Bard abilities part of the bard chassis.

Second it is not the weapon proficiency, although that is a requirement. It is the fighting styles and the ability to invest in both dexterity and strength. Valor Bards, and for that matter Rangers and Paladins, can not do that very easily because they are reliant on other abilities for core mechanics and while they can be built to keep up with a fighter in either melee or ranged they are going to be significantly compromised compared to a fighter in the other.
 

ECMO3

Hero
You're not getting my point about access.

By default, a wizard is good at:
  1. All 8 spells schools
    1. Abjuration
    2. Conjuration
    3. Divination
    4. Enchantment
    5. Evocation
    6. Illusion
    7. Necromancy
    8. Transmutation

Not by default. Only if they get the spells to do it and I can prove it - Provide an example of a 1st level Wizard build that is good in all 8 of these schools using only class abilities.

"A" Wizard will not be good in all these schools. "A" Wizard can be good in ANY of these schools but not EVERY one these schools.

The Wizard class can be good at all of these, but A given Wizard can't based solely on class abilities.

  • Almost every caster role
    1. Buffs
    2. Control
    3. Damage
    4. Debuffs
    5. Exploration
    6. Defending
    7. Social
    8. Utility

Not "every" caster role but rather "any" caster role. Those are two very different things.

Again provide an example of a 5th level wizard build, using only class features, that is the equivalent of the Druid in EVERY one of these areas. When I say equivalent I want this to be clear here - I want you to do a wizard build to be equivalent to the Druid in EVERY single one of these areas you mention using only the spells in his spellbook which are provided by his class (16 spells total, no more than 6 of second level or higher and no more than 2 3rd level spells)

If you can provide examples for both of these above I will shut up and color.

What is wrong with the wizard is that you can't do anything fun with it because its flavor is being good at almost everything magical.

No again, the wizard can be good at almost "anything" magical, but he can not be good at everything magical based only on what is afforded in his class.

Further, many, many players manage to do fun things with Wizards. In addition to all the fun I have had with Wizards I have played personally, I am playing 3 campaigns with a wizard in each one of them and those players are all having fun too.

So as a point of fact players CAN do fun things with Wizards. That is not even debatable.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Not by default. Only if they get the spells to do it and I can prove it - Provide an example of a 1st level Wizard build that is good in all 8 of these schools using only class abilities.

"A" Wizard will not be good in all these schools. "A" Wizard can be good in ANY of these schools but not EVERY one these schools.

The Wizard class can be good at all of these, but A given Wizard can't based solely on class abilities.
This issue is individual spells of an individual wizard but the lack of restrictions. Because the wizard with
  1. Alibaba's Awesome Abjuration
  2. Calamitus's Crazy Conjuration
  3. Dyno's Powerful Divination
  4. Egg's Great Enchantment
  5. Eg's Excellent Evocation
  6. Illya's Sick Illusion
  7. Sandro's Broken Necromancy
  8. Tucker's Hot Transmutation
is good at all 8 schools. "But those spells don't exist."

Exactly. They can't exist because there is nothing in the lore preventing the wizard from access to them if they did exist. This is why you can't dive hard into complex magic fantasy for wizard., But as powerful spells are added to a setting/campaign, the wizard's power grows until it hits critical mass and does have 75% of the major answers on one PC.

And then the game shifts to grinding out the wizard's spell slots. And if the designers pigeonholed other classes into certain effects, the wizard let them handle that and shift to utility belt mode earlier. Then not only is the DM "forced" to grind out the wizard if they don't want wizard spells contributing every solutions, they might ban the influx or always punch with effect higher than the wizard's best slots.

This all comes down to D&D being a dungeonneering game and Wizards being a "tricks and artillery class" originally. Dungeons were long dangerous affairs. Wizards were weak, had few resources, and had little control over what they got. And the Wizard spells list and tropes were built on those concepts. But as wizard players requested mores spells per day, more HP per level, and more control over their spellbooks, the design philosophy of the wizard class chassis and the wizard spell design no longer matched up.
 

bloodtide

Legend
But as wizard players requested mores spells per day, more HP per level, and more control over their spellbooks, the design philosophy of the wizard class chassis and the wizard spell design no longer matched up.
So,wait, does not this make it the problem is they caved into the requests?

I have walked the path between the book and the darkness....played the game for endless hours as a wounded wizard character with no spells, forced to do little more then throw rocks at foes.....

But I never would have made those requests. And They should have never had granted them.

Also I'm not really follow the idea that the problem with the wizard is that they get too many spells of too many types. Are you saying your answer is to cut the wizard down to like five spells of one type per level and then the class would be OK?

The "flavor" of the wizard is not that they are "good" at everything, it's that they have the Magic Tool Box.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Also I'm not really follow the idea that the problem with the wizard is that they get too many spells of too many types. Are you saying your answer is to cut the wizard down to like five spells of one type per level and then the class would be OK?
I would lock some wizard spells behind school specialization,

The "flavor" of the wizard is not that they are "good" at everything, it's that they have the Magic Tool Box.
The issue again is that all but 2 tools could be potentially in the toolbox with no restrictions. So once the toolbox get large enough, it becomes devoid of all flavor as other tools not in the same theme not only get in the box but are major additional.

Sort of how Milwaukee went from being know for saws to being know for selling "anything you can stick a battery to or snap together"
 

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